‘Significant’ COVID-19 outbreak infects more than 7 in 10 residents of B.C. care home

Click to play video: 'Deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Burnaby care facility'
Deadly COVID-19 outbreak at Burnaby care facility
A COVID -19 outbreak at the Willingdon Care Centre in Burnaby has grown to 89 cases, and 10 deaths. Aaron McArthur reports – Oct 14, 2021

Nearly three quarters of the residents of a Burnaby long-term care home have contracted COVID-19 amidst an ongoing outbreak at the facility.

Provincial health officials confirmed 90 cases at the Willingdon Care Centre on Thursday, including 69 involving residents. Three deaths have been confirmed, but Health Minister Adrian Dix said the number of fatalities could be as high as 10.

The facility is comprised of 95 beds, according to Fraser Health’s website.

“We’ve had a number of cases in the last period, in long-term care particularly in Interior Health — but Willingdon is currently, by a significant margin, our most significant outbreak, and that’s why we are taking the steps we are,” Dix said.

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“We’ll also see an increase in the number of people who have passed away over the next number of periods related to the Willingdon Care Centre.”

Click to play video: '1,955 care workers remain unvaccinated despite deadline'
1,955 care workers remain unvaccinated despite deadline

Fraser Health declared an outbreak at the facility on Sept. 28, when just one resident had tested positive for the virus.

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By Oct. 5, that number had grown to 45 cases — 39 residents and six staff. Nine days later that figure had nearly doubled.

“We have seen that when this virus, particularly the Delta strain we’re seeing, is introduced into communal living settings with very vulnerable people that it can spread very quickly,” provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry said.

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Henry defended the province’s timeline on rolling out booster shots to seniors in care, saying the six-month gap between second doses and booster doses that the province has adopted is based on global data and the National Advisory Committee on Immunization’s advice.

“It is out there now. We are immunizing residents across the province and in many cases concurrently giving protection against influenza for the coming season,” she said.

Dix said the province’s rollout of booster doses and its policy that staff and visitors in long-term care homes must be vaccinated were aimed at protecting vulnerable seniors living in care homes.

Nearly 2,000 long-term care workers, about four per cent of the workforce, had not been vaccinated by Tuesday’s deadline.

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